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UPDATE Sept. 24: Officials with Wild Root Market said Monday morning that they were able to reach their capital campaign goal of $1.125 million.

The announcement was made to the food co-op owners via email.

UPDATE Sept. 23: With hours left in its capital campaign, Wild Root Market is about $30,000 short of its goal.

The capital campaign represents a portion of the $4.8 million they need to buy and renovate a food co-operative.

Organizers say if they can’t reach the $1.125 million goal, they could lose their finance package. The food co-op is looking for people to either loan or donate money to the project. Those wishing to support the project can do so by going to the Wild Rood Market website.

ORIGINAL STORY: Wild Root Market will kickoff off a capital campaign Tuesday with the goal of raising $1.125 million of the $4.8 million it needs to buy and renovate a food co-operative.

Wild Root Market received a green light from the City of Racine in June to start-up a 12,000 square foot grocery store at 500 Walton Avenue. The food co-op model allows community members to buy shares in a for-profit store, but it is democratically controlled by its members.

The store is expected to generate $7 million in annual sales and employ 40 people, said Rose Nelson, president of Wild Root Market.

“After many years of searching for a site in Racine that met all our requirements, we are so excited to take this next step in making our store a reality,” Nelson said. “The Capital Campaign is an opportunity for our Owners to make a direct investment in their community in a tangible way where they can see their money at work after the store opens.”

Wild Root Market seeking loans, donations

Officials with the food-cooperative plan to ask for loans and donations from its membership, which can be made through the non-profit Cooperative Development Fund. After the loans are in place, the rest of the funding will come from grants, the community, and traditional financing, according to a press release by Wild Root.

The owner loans are considered a form of financing, which is unique to cooperatives. The money is considered capital rather than debt to lenders that specialize in co-ops. The benefit to the owner lender is that the interest rates are higher than CDs or money market accounts. Only Wild Root Market owners over the age of 18 and permanent Wisconsin residents can become an owner lender.

The loans are unsecured and they do carry more risk. Disclosures will be provided along with earnings projections. The expected payoff is within five to 10 years. Lenders can choose from several interest rates and term lengths, the press release reads.

“With over $80,000 already pledged prior to the official start of the campaign, we are confident that our Owners and the community will come through with the loans we need so we can lock in the rest of our financing,” said capital campaign chair, Marcia Buhler.

Food Co-operative Hires Local Builders, Architecture Firm

Once Wild Root has raised $1.125 million, it will then be able to secure additional financing so that it can complete the sale of the building and begin construction.

The process is expected to take a year to a year and a half. In the meantime, Wild Root has retained Bukacek Construction and Butterfield, Rudie and Seitz as its architecture firm. The building will be 11,600 square feet and employ 40 people in full and part-time jobs.

“Not only are we excited that there will be a store in our community dedicated to selling wholesome natural foods, but we believe in the cooperative business model and its ability to bring a community of people together around a common goal, “ said owner #481, Paul Sloth.

For more information, please visit the Wild Root Market website.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.